Like we said in our last post, if this keeps up, criticizing the restaurant offerings in Henderson will cease to be our third favorite indoor sport.*
By “this” we mean good places to eat in Henderson, along that aggravating, overbuilt, crowded, confusing retail spine known as South Eastern Avenue.
But in less than a month, two worthy joints have opened and one — East Ocean Dim Sum & Seafood — is so good it will give East-enders a reason to stay close to home for their Chinese food fix.
One dinner and one dim sum lunch convinced us (and Slapsie Maxsie) that something special is going on in this kitchen. Like the best, freshest, snappiest green beans with XO sauce we’ve had outside of Hong Kong. And dim sum that doesn’t taste like it was made two days ago — as it does in too many of our dim sum parlors. Even the fried turnip cake, usually a starchy, gelatinous brick, tasted of the root and not vegetable glue.
Dinner with Max was a slapdash affair, but we both marveled at the meat candy-essence of the sticky sweet pork belly and Chinese sausage in a sizzling, rice-lined hot pot — although both of us thought the portion was a puny one for twenty-eight bucks.
Calling a place the best Chinese restaurant in Henderson is like saying someone is the best pan flute player in Paducah, but East Ocean’s bona fides are the real deal. The place reminds us of City Hall Maxim’s in Hong Kong (although only a third the size), and the chefs are putting out authentic fare that takes a back seat to nothing in our “Chinatown.” From our recent weekend lunch, it looks like Asians, Asian-Americans and a number of gwai-lo (round-eyed, foreign, ghost-guys) have discovered it. The decor (and the giant film strip of Chinese pictures on the walls) speak directly to the Cantonese roots of this food, and signal that real money has been invested in upgrading this real estate that’s been home to at least three failed restaurants.
Is Henderson ready for the real deal in dim sum? Can Cantonese cooking capture customers craving a cafe of this caliber?
Who knows? All ELV will say is he and his staff finally have a reason not to gripe about eating in this (previously) food-forsaken part of town.
And please pass the har gow.
EAST OCEAN DIM SUM & SEAFOOD RESTAURANT
9570 South Eastern Ave.
Henderson, NV 89123
* Right behind doing the wild thing and jumping to conclusions.